Royals Season Preview- Part 1 of 4
Today's a get-away-day for Royals Nightly, as I'm heading out on a long weekend early this evening. Before braving a trans-midwestern drive however, I wanted to get some thoughts out concerning the Royals and their recently released PECOTA projections. If you're reading this site, you probably know all about PECOTA, the projection system used by Baseball Prospectus on their site and book. You probably also know that PECOTA is a computer program that takes into account the players past performance and uses age, position and body type to attempt to project future perfomance.
As Martha Stewart would say, "its a good thing."
So, the semi-format of my early attempts at thinking through this upcoming season is to kinda inch through the PECOTA data (availible for download for subscribers) and see what sticks out. As some of the fantastic commenters on this site have already noted, the system thinks highly of Calvin Pickering (free Calvin Pickering!) and somehow thinks, despite Allard's ideas to the contrary, that dude's gonna get over 400 ABS. Well, if that happens, I'll be shocked...
Going down the list (although leaving out more minor players... which I may come back to later...):
Angel Berroa: .265/.310/.409 (all numbers listed BA/OBP/SLG). Ehhh... so-so... I'm not alone in thinking that Berroa's about 30 walks a year from being a damn fine player, especially considering he's fast (although not particularly intelligent) on the bases and commonly in the lead-off spot. In short, he's actually got an offensive skill-set, however flawed. And to top it off he plays a premium defensive position non-badly. Players like Berroa, or rather what Berroa could be, are exactly the kind of players that make teams good. PECOTA thinks he's got a nice shot at improving in 2005, which is of course all age-based... but we'll see.
John Buck: .263/.314/.432. Pretty good for a young cathcer who starter his 2004 by looking like one of the worst hitters in the American League. PECOTA likes Buck to sustain his modest amount of pop, slamming 12 homers in 331 at bats. Looks like his nice second half will carry-over.
A. Castillo: .234/.313/.341. Sounds like your standard-issue middle infielder who can't hit. Notice the early trend of low OBP guys, this will continue.
David DeJesus: .283/.367/.434. DeJesus is really becoming THE brightspot to look forward to (or look forwards to) in 2005. That, and the outside shot that Sweeney has a Sweeney season again, which may or may not ever actually happen. Well Royals fans, DeJesus and Greinke... your positive elements on the roster from here till 2009. Enjoy it.
Swingin' Ken Harvey: .268/.323/.428. PECOTA thinks theres a 44% chance Harvey will improve in 2005. Sure hope so. Despite the endless posts here denouncing Harvey, he's not a totally terrible player (and of course good be a great guy... I wouldn't know). Nevertheless, its reflective of a failed mindset that Harvey is playing more than Pickering, or any other Pickering-esque AAAA player.
Terrence Long: .266/.319/.410. Why Allard why? Does anyone realize how much this guy gets paid? PECOTA only sees Long playing 60-70 games in the Royals outfield platoon of horror... we'll see if that happens. I'm dead afraid that Pena will take a shine to this guy and he'll play in 130 games.
Eli Marrerro: .272/.330/.452. Basically, Eli needs to play well, which could create a cascade effect that makes the Royals outfield situation better in spades. He isn't the tantalizing player he once was in St. Louis, but he has an established ability to hit decently. If he plays well, lesser players might not play as much. Everyone wins.
Closing question: Will any Royal hit over 20 homers in 2005???
Well who's it gonna be then I ask? Sweeney's gonna need at least 110 games to do so, as will Pickering -- and thats if everything clicks, at the plate and on the lineup card -- and maybe a guy like Marrerro. Buck? Perhaps, but I think he'll top out at 15. Swingin' Ken? Ditto.
Right now, I'd say the odds of a Royal hitting the magical 20 barrier ar less than 35%...
Until Next Time.
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